Exploring Lithuania’s Jewish heritage via a virtual map

A new digital heritage project allows you to expore Lithuania's Jewish heritage, for example the old Jewish quarters in the village of Kaišiadorys. Image: Jewish Heritage Lithuania/Youtube

In May, the Jewish Cultural Heritage Road Association launched a digital map where you discover Lithuania’s Jewish heritage. The website contains more than 200 objects with detailed information and photos. Tourists and locals can learn about local Jewish legacies and plan their travels along thematic routes and travel plans 

Jewish Cultural Heritage Road Association chairman Arturas Taicas explained that interest in Lithuania’s Jewish heritage has grown over the past few years. “Recently, there has been a lot of progress in restoring numerous Jewish heritage sites across the country”, he told The Baltic Review.

Accessible history

A good example is the recent success of a renovated wooden synagogue in North Lithuania over the past few years, as 25.000 people visited. “Such a number was considered unprecedented a decade ago”, Taicas underlined the surge of interest in Lithuania’s Jewish legacy. (Text continues below image)

This renovated wooden synagogue in Pakruojis attracted 25.000 visitors over the past few years. Image: Vilensija/Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

However, the information about the country’s Jewish history remained fragmented. Taicas hoped the new map makes all the knowledge more accessible for tourists and locals, whether they experience it from behind a computer screen or physical, “once the Covid restrictions are off.”

The Israeli connection

Israel especially welcomed the website’s launch as ambassador to Lithuania Yossef Levy “warmly recommended” people to discover the country’s Jewish heritage. “When we walk into this open history book, we see the endless shtetls and the urban Jewish life Talmudic studies and modern art, Yiddish poetry and lost market voices”, he mentioned. (Text continues below image)

This thematic route guides the visitor along famous Litvaks (Lithuanian Jews). Image: Jewish Heritage Lithuania/screenshot

According to Indre Slyziute, a Senior Market Expert at Lithuania Travel, Jewish heritage has always been a crucial tourism product for Israeli’ travellers. “Tourism flows from Israel have nearly doubled over the past four years before the pandemic, and Lithuania received more than 30.000 visitors from Israel in 2019”, he stated. 

Many travellers have Lithuanian roots and wish to experience their ancestors’ homeland, cultural and historical legacy. The website forms an excellent starting for them and anyone else interested in Lithuania’s Jewish heritage.

Through this map visitors can explore over 200 objects that highlight Lithuania’s Jewish heritage. Image: Jewish Heritage Lithuania/screenshot

Source: Jewish Heritage Lithuania and The Baltic Review

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